Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Kleiner Strubbel takes the world of children's books by storm

Great news. Our village library is now also open on Mondays after school. I love our village library so much. It is well stocked, has fantastic staff and is a great place to bump into local people. And I am learning my German by reading children's books!

The staff are a font of information about local life in general. Just yesterday we were discussing the best place to pick strawberries (much cheaper than buying them) the most popular swimming pools and where the entire village goes to ice skate each winter (Effretikon)

I saw a list on the desk which was a list of 'plop.' Unpopular books which people avoid taking out, so they are turfed out regularly and new ones bought in. At this point, my 7-year-old and I started talking about a series of books we have been greatly enjoying at Winterthur Library – Kleiner Strubbel by Pierre Baily and Céline Fraipont. They really are brilliant – big bold, fun illustrations in comic format without words, so children can tell the story themselves. These would probably be very unpopular in the UK – 'Books without words – but how will they learn to read??' I can hear them say.

The official age recommendation for these books is 3-6 but they really do appeal to all – my 5-year-old loves them, my 7-year-old loves them and I love them. The plot in each book always follows the same format – Kleiner Strubbel's mum waving him off as he sets out on an adventure, he gets into trouble, feels scared and lonely, pulls a photo of him and his mother from his rucksack which makes him feel better and by chance, the characters which initially scared him start to become his friends.

So in just 30 pages or so the 'reader' will discover a beautiful story with a strong plot, a host of delightful details and wonderful illustrations.

And best of all, our village librarian said she would get a couple of the books in to see if the other children also like them. And they are very current – there's a new one due out – Coconuts Schatz on 1st October.

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